Sometimes it just isn’t enough to pick up a postcard in the hotel lobby. Personal photographs have the power to capture not just the scenes of a place, but its feel and rhythm. To do this the only things you need are a camera (or your phone) and a strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind on your next photo safari:
Plan a little before you start snapping.
It’s very rare that you just happen to be in the right place at the right time, so take a brief moment before you set out to answer a few questions that will help you get the timing and the location right, such as: What made you decide on this location? What is unique about this place? How do you feel about it? What kinds of scenes would communicate that feel visually?
Make sure you have the equipment and the light you need.
Nothing is worse than finding the perfect shot, and missing it because you weren’t prepared. The best photographers get up early and stay out late – as the best lighting is found in the soft hours of the morning and evening. Keep your battery charged and a spare SD card ready. Try to plug in and download your photos at the end of every day to free up space. And remember, the camera (or phone) does not matter nearly as much as the photographer. If you don’t like an image, play with the settings and keep snapping photos until you achieve what you want.
Keep an open eye and let your feet wander. Don’t overschedule.
Allow yourself to take pleasure in the full experience, rather than insisting on a perfect shot. It’s good to have a goal in mind, but you should allow yourself to wander a bit and even get lost. Discover new perspectives and surprising angles. Do not procrastinate, thinking that you might come back to a scene. Capture it, even if it the moment doesn’t seem ideal. It might rain tomorrow! Follow the locals, not the tourist crowds, to get more authenticity into your images. If you want to capture specific people in a setting, get their permission first.
Consider joining a tour.
If you are really serious about getting the best photographs, but you need some guidance, consider taking a photography tour. Photo tours typically follow a pre-designed itinerary, and you will be accompanied by a professional photographer who will help you to identify promising subjects.
Your guide may be able to help you get access to special cultural events or set up interviews with local people. They are especially helpful in finding the right locations and timing to capture beautiful landscapes or wildlife shots. If you’re hoping to get photographs of specific monuments or noteworthy architecture, they can often customize a tour to suit your desires.
Or, arrange a session with the pros.
Finally, if you want some great photos to put on the walls at home, but you’d rather not mess around with a camera yourself, look for a local photographer who can organize a shoot at your destination. Flytographer is one such network of professional photographers worldwide, who will arrange to meet you at your destination for an hour-long, or even a full day. Before the session begins your photographer will discuss with you the type of photos you are hoping to get (romantic, adventure, reunion, etc.) Then, you get to walk and talk and really experience the destination, with your personal photographer snapping candid photos all the while.
This is a great alternative to asking strangers for assistance with a group photo, or trying snap an awkward selfie, leaving you to relax and just enjoy the moment. The photos are professionally edited and sent to your email inbox, ready for you to enjoy when you return home.
Collecting trinkets on your travels is a great pleasure. But the very best souvenirs are the photographs that capture your memories. With great photos, you can go back in time and relive those special moments anytime you like.